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Old 13-06-2014, 08:22   #1
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Can Someone Suggest A Good Marine Electrical Kit?

Just an all-around / good-to-have / beginner's kit... as well as a tried-and-true crimper/stripper tool?

Or is this like screws and nails - often sold as a 'kit' for more $$$, and less need? Might it be better to just buy ala carte?


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Old 13-06-2014, 09:03   #2
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Re: Can Someone Suggest A Good Marine Electrical Kit?

Depends on what kind of wire you are working with. For a boat you are going to need a lot of different things to cover all your bases. If you just want basics start with a good quality wire stripper. And by wire stripper I mean a purpose built wire stripper for ONLY wire stripping. They look like the attached image. These also usually have wire cutters on them that work incredibly well too.

Then find yourself a good quality crimper the all in one design is fine and I know that these typically have wire stripper built onto them but the reason I prefer the previously mentioned one is that those built in strippers are usually not very sharp, rather difficult to use, and even more difficult to use in tight spaces. But again QUALITY is important, if you paid $3 at walmart for it or $1.50 at harbor freight you did not get the right tool. Quality tools have weight to them and feel sturdy in the hand and this is important to accurately crimping and cutting, you do not want the tool bending in your hand when you try to crimp down a connector because you loose control when that happens and you are putting a lot of your force into bending the tool and not crimping the connector which results in broken and wasted connectors and/or poor connections that corrode and fall off quickly.

Once you have that under control you can graduate to heatguns and soldering irons.

This will work for everything down to about 10 gauge and you can probably get away with using them for everything down to 6 gauge with a little bit of extra effort. Beyond that the tools follow the same concept they just get bigger, heavier and more expensive and work for smaller ranges of wire.

Oh and don't buy the kits.. They usually have the cheapest of the cheapest tools in them.
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Old 13-06-2014, 09:10   #3
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Re: Can Someone Suggest A Good Marine Electrical Kit?

I switched from a humongous tool set to a small 110 piece all in one kit for one cruise we went on. Plastic box with slots for everything. I liked it. Except for the crimpers, total junk.
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Old 13-06-2014, 09:31   #4
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Re: Can Someone Suggest A Good Marine Electrical Kit?

A tackle box is a nice starting place for putting your own kit together. Lots of drawers and slots. Fill as you have spares left over from projects.

Another vote for a quality stripper and crimper make a world of difference.
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Old 13-06-2014, 09:37   #5
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Re: Can Someone Suggest A Good Marine Electrical Kit?

Ancor makes tools, wire, and crimp terminals specifically for marine electrical work. I like their heat shrink terminals which seal to the wire. The ratchet crimpers will produce the best results. Their products are shown here, and they can be found at most marine stores. I agree that it is best to stock what you think that you might need, and acquire everything else as needs arise. Electronics will involve coax cables, perhaps soldering, and other equipment for battery size cables.
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Old 13-06-2014, 09:41   #6
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Re: Can Someone Suggest A Good Marine Electrical Kit?

My electrical kit consists of a large tackle box, multimeter, butt connectors, ring terminals, solder, soldering guns, wire cutters, wire strippers, razer knife, heat shrink, silicon grease, Tef-Gel, heat gun, clamp ammeter, radio antenna connectors of all sorts, electrical tape, small screwdrivers, alligator clips used for test leads, wire ties, wire clamps, small spools of wire, Sharpee, wire labels, fuses, and a small stainless steel wire brush. That's pretty much everything. It's an accumulation of many different types of electric related things that I have needed from running many different types of boats professionally for almost 30 years.

All of the crimps and heatsink I use are Ancor brand found at West Marine. Nothing is from an auto parts store. They don't sell tinned anything.

Stay away from the junk you find at Harbor Tools etc. You don't need broken or unusable tools away from the dock.

Outside of the topic, but I carry a full on small tool chest and a pretty big selection of stainless steel fasteners. I frequently find myself having to "McGyver" things out in the field.

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Old 13-06-2014, 09:51   #7
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Re: Can Someone Suggest A Good Marine Electrical Kit?

Here is the info I send my students after my electrical class...items I like are found at these links:

BSP Clear Seal Waterproof Wiring Kit

This kit is a little pricey but includes a ratcheting crimper for heatshrink terminals. It also has room to cram other tools in. Now that I've had it awhile, I really like it (I tossed the stripper in favor of a better one, below). I just grab it and have a selection of terminals and all the tools with me in one small bag. I have restocked it several times now.

If you want to just get the tool, here it is:

Sea-Dog Heat Shrink Terminal Crimper Tool

I disagree with the above poster about the little strippers with the little holes. I use a different style wire stripper:

Irwin Industrial Tools 2078300 8-Inch Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper with ProTouch Grips - Wire Stripping Tool -

There are different brands with this design, so shop around.

I also recommend a cable tie cutter:

ACT MG-1300 Bundled Wire Cable Tie Cutter - Large

and a cable tie tensioner:

Cable Tie Gun - Hand Tool Sets -

Again, I'm not recommending any particular brand or vendor, I just googled some examples for you. I have several of these tools, to use myself and for my classes, and I have more than one brand. The cable tie cutter tool does seem to only be made by one company. It has little teeth on the end to grab the cable tie before you cut it, and makes it much less likely you will cut anything else by mistake.

Good tools make a job so much easier.
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Old 13-06-2014, 17:19   #8
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Re: Can Someone Suggest A Good Marine Electrical Kit?

Marine Wire Termination Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at

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cal, electric, electrical, marine

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